The Norm Smith Medallist and Best on Ground in Every Grand Final. Grand Finals! They are the games in which reputations are forged - for good or bad. Since 1979, the Norm Smith Medal has been awarded to the AFL/VFL player adjudged best on ground in Grand Finals. But what of those who were best on ground before this honour was inaugurated? Grand Finals have been played since late in the nineteenth century and here, for the first time, is the full collection of the heroes of those battles for premiership honours. Many of the heroes' names have been lost in the mists of time - until now. Here, for the first time, their mighty deeds are recalled. For example, a football writer reporting on the 1899 Grand Final suggested he had never seen a man do more for his side than Fitzroy's Pat Hickey in helping the Maroons defeat South Melbourne. In twentieth century Grand Finals, there were such notable heroes as Collingwood's Syd Coventry and Albert Collier, South Melbourne's Laurie Nash and Melbourne's Ron Barassi. There also were lesser lights in Fitzroy's Bruce Calverley, Carlton's Vin Brown and Footscray's John Kerr - little-known, but heroes all.
In more recent times, such football greats as West Coast's Peter Matera, Essendon's James Hird and Collingwood's Nathan Buckley officially have been named best on ground and awarded Norm Smith Medals. There has been more than a century of Grand Final heroes and this book pays tribute to all those who were at their best when it mattered most.